Pork and Sausage Ragout
This recipe is on of my favorites and it's very easy to prepare. It can be done in a crock pot (set to low) or in a heavy bottomed pot on the stove (again, set to low) or my favorite way, in the oven (you guessed it, set to low). See the operative word here? This is a dish you start in the morning and enjoy in the evening. Your house will smell like heaven and when it's ready to go you will be VERY pleased with yourself! Let's get started!
4 lbs pork picnic shoulder cut into large cubes
1 lb of Italian Sausage (Grace's of course)
1 large white onion medium dice
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 16oz can of whole peeled tomatoes (good quality San Marzano)
4 cloves of minced garlic
2 cups of red wine (I use Pinot Noir of good drinking quality)
Fresh Parsley for garnish (about 1/2 cup when chopped)
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano (as much as you like)
will serve up to 8 people (don't panic, this will freeze very nicely so go for it even if you're cooking for 1 or 2)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large frying pan, heat a little olive oil over medium high heat. Let the pan get nice and hot. Place your sausages in the pan and cook until nicely browned on each side (you're just searing here so don't worry about cooking through) about 3-4 minutes per side. If your frying pan is oven safe then simply transfer it to the oven to finish cooking or place them on an oiled sheet pan and place that in the oven. Cook an additional 10 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool then place them in the refrigerator. This step could easily be done the day before if you wanted.
Get a nice heavy bottomed pot and heat up some olive oil over high heat (NOTE: I actually use avocado oil at home for hight temp searing as it has a higher smoke point but olive oil will indeed work). Season you pork shoulder chunks with salt and pepper and sear all the pork in small batches so as to not overcrowd the pot. Remove the pork once seared and place on a plate off to the side. When all of the pork has been seared, reduce the heat to medium and add your onions cooking until they are softened then add your garlic and cook an additional 3 minutes or so. Add the tomato paste and stir until has turned the contents of your pot a deep red (about 1 to 2 minutes). Add the seared pork shoulder pieces back into the pot, bring the heat back up to high and pour your wine over top and let it come to a boil. This is where you get your hands dirty... Open your can of peeled tomatoes and very carefully hand crush them into the pot (be careful, they will squirt). You are just crushing them, not pulverizing them. Once they are all crushed and in the pot, add the remaining juice from the can. Once everything comes to a boil again you can:
1.Transfer contents to your crockpot, cover and set on low
2. Place heavy lid on the pot and keep it on the stove and cook on low
3. (my favorite) Place heavy lid on the pot and transfer to a 300 degree oven
Cook for at least 6 hours or until the pieces of pork in the sauce are easily torn apart then slice the sausage you cooked earlier and add it into the mix and stir rather vigorously so that you break up the pork chunks. The consistency should be thick and hearty. If it's still very "soupy" then simply put your pot back on the stove top and simmer it with the lid off on medium high heat until it reduces to the correct consistency. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and serve over some high quality pasta or some polenta and garnish with chopped parsley and shaved parm.